Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Heaven's Release

Last Sunday I visited CrossPoint Worship Center where Pastor Theron leads. You might remember reading about him last month in the post about Feet. He did an excellent message on Sunday that fit right in with the Thanksgiving holiday.
Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Thanksgiving is more than a holiday...it's more than turkey and stuffing...it's a lifestyle. We are thankful to someone.
Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
Anyone can say "Thank You" but those are just words. Thanksgiving is about our heart. It's not about what we have in our hand...our stuff...things don't make you a grateful person. Some people have nothing but they are the most thankful people you'll ever meet. Thankfulness is a condition of your heart.
Mark 4:3-9,13-20 "Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold." And he said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." And he said to them, "Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."
This parable compares our hearts to soil and the word to seed. The condition of our heart may or may not be conducive to bearing fruit.
Isaiah 55:10-13 "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.  "For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle; and it shall make a name for the LORD, an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."
Our heart condition determines the outcome of the word in our lives. Things in our life compete for attention(thorns) and smother the seed. Our hearts may be hard and unreceptive...it will not bring forth joy but an ungrateful spirit. Do you have a thankful or an unthankful heart?
2 Timothy 3:1-2 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy
An ungrateful heart is a complaining spirit. Are your thoughts full of joy and thankfulness or are they grouchy and ungrateful? Israel had an ungrateful spirit. God had delivered them out of Egypt and slavery and abuse...but they complained because they wanted to taste the food...they wanted a taste of the world. They magnified the past but forgot that they were in bondage. They would rather go into slavery to have a certain type of food than follow God.

We constantly desire 100% out of life. Anything less and we are not satisfied. The thing is, because this world is tainted by sin...we will never get 100%. We have to learn to be happy with what we have. Don't expect 100% from an imperfect world and sinful people. There's something called the 80/20 rule. We get 80% out of life/relationships...but we are so focused on the 20% that we don't have that we forget what we do have. People will leave the 80% they have to go after the 20%. It applies in work, marriages, and all other aspects of life. We need to learn to focus on what we have...not what we don't have.

We are inflicted with a wrong spirit. We need a new heart to be able to receive what God wants to release into our lives.
Philippians 4:6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
With. Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving(the heart condition, not the holiday) will bring a release in your life. When you release thanksgiving into your life...Heaven releases power into you. Think about when Lazarus died...Jesus stopped and offered up a prayer of thanks to God. After expressing his thankfulness...Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Now remember when Jesus fed the crowd? There were only 5 loaves and 2 fish...but after they prayed and thanked God for the food...it was enough to feed the crowd with much left over.  So often, all we do is complain and tell God just how bad things are...but he already knows...so have faith and thank him for the good and the bad in your life. He will give you the power to walk through.
 
Thankfulness also brings a release of peace in your life. Pastor Theron told the story of his sister praying over the meal and only thanking God for the food she liked. We cannot be selective in our thanks...we must give thanks for everything...including the green beans(or whatever it is in your life that you don't like). There are far greater things to be thankful for than things of this world. The woman who anointed Jesus feet and washed them with her tears had much more to be thankful for than just "things". She was forgiven. The more you are forgiven for, the more you should be thankful for. This woman was thankful for forgiveness.
 
God wants to release his power and peace into our lives but he requires more of us. He won't just snap his finger and save us. Read John 8...the story of the adulterous woman...the Pharisees tried to trap Jesus, no matter his answer. Jesus was slow to respond: "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." The Bible clearly says:
Leviticus 20:10 If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
What gave Jesus the right to send her home in peace? Jesus didn't pick up a stone...even though he was the only one qualified to punish her...because he was on his way to Calvary to die in her place. We are all guilty but we don't have to die or suffer because Jesus became our substitute. The Prince of Peace gave us his peace. He took our guilt.
 
Why are we thankful? Not because of the things we have...but because Jesus is our substitute. He has taken our guilt and given us his righteousness.  Thank God there was ONE without sin. Heaven released Jesus...the greatest gift of all...so that we could live.
 
Not only does he release to us power and peace...but he releases to us his presence. He inhabits in the praise of his people...all the more reason to be thankful.
 
Holy Spirit
by Bryan and Katie Torwalt
 
There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
Nothing can compare
You're our Living Hope
Your Presence

I've tasted and I've seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart becomes free
And my shame is undone

Your presence Lord

Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence Lord

Your presence Lord

There is nothing worth more
That will ever come close
You are our Living Hope

Your presence Lord

I've tasted and I've seen
Of the sweetest of loves
Where my heart is set free
And my shame is undone

Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence Lord
(Repeat)

Let us become more aware of Your presence
Let us experience the glory of Your goodness
(Repeat)

Lord
Holy Spirit You are welcome here
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere
Your glory God is what our hearts long for
To be overcome by Your presence Lord

No comments: